Did you know that thousands of children ride unrestrained in vehicles on the roadways of our state? Have you seen children riding around in cars with no child seat, no seat belt? Many of us have. But did you know that three out of four child seats are improperly installed or used in vehicles. The lack of use and improper installation of child seats endangers thousands of children traveling in Florida every day.
To better educate the public on the importance of protecting our state’s children in vehicles, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Division of the Florida Highway Patrol provides a Child Safety Seat Program for residents in all 67 counties in Florida. This week, our agency and our many child safety partners are actively promoting National Child Passenger Safety Week (September 21-27).
Last Saturday, the Florida Highway Patrol, Florida Department of Transportation, Florida State University Police Department, and Safe Kids Florida joined forces with the Florida State University Seminole Boosters to urge parents and caregivers to visit a special booth at Doak Campbell Stadium to kick off National Child Passenger Safety Week. Beginning at 2 p.m. until just before the FSU vs. Wake Forest football game, a special booth was set up in the Seminole Village in front of the stadium. Trooper Ed Creel and FHPA worked the popular roll-over simulator to crowds of parents and kids anxious to see what happens to the dummies when the car rolls over in a simulated crash.
According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration research, the lives of 8,325 children under age five have been saved by the proper use of child restraints during the past 30 years. Research shows that child restraints and booster seats provide the best protection for all children up to age eight.
FHP’s six Occupant Protection Specialists and 62 Nationally Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians are busy this week with activities scheduled all across the state in every troop to educate parents and caregivers about child passenger safety, inspect child seats for the public, and offer resources and valuable safety information to all who attend.
“When it comes to the safety of a child, there is no room for mistakes,” said Kim Jones, Child Passenger Safety Program Coordinator for the Florida Highway Patrol. “For maximum child passenger safety, parents and caregivers should refer to the 4 Steps for Kids guidelines for determining which restraint system is best suited to protect children based on age and size.”
For more information on National Child Passenger Safety Week (Sept. 21-27) and for information about child safety seats and booster seats, please visit www.nhtsa.gov. For more information on our agency’s Child Passenger Safety Program, please visit www.flhsmv.gov/fhp/CPS.